The quality of your CV could make or break your job chances. Hays Montrose offers some suggestions on how to make yours an asset not a liability
Keeping your CV up to date is one of the best ways to be ready when career opportunities present themselves. It can also help you to review your progress and set yourself new goals.

Writing your CV can be daunting if you don't know what prospective employers are looking for, especially if you haven't been on the lookout for some time. However, reading the jobs pages and scanning the internet is a good way of seeing what skills are looked for in your field.

When you find a job you want, tailor your CV to fit that role – don't just send a generic version. Be honest about your experience but approach the application by using the employer's terminology – echo phrases they have used in the job advert and address the job's requirements in the order set out on the advert.

Show the relevance of your skills. The employer may want someone with specific experience, so streamline your CV accordingly. But don't forget: a well-written CV should never be longer than two pages – ideally just one – so keep it concise.

All information must be relevant. Elaborate on your most recent role, describing projects you've carried out. If you are a recent graduate, you may not have much experience so highlight the relevant skills gained in your course and on work placements. Don't leave any gaps in chronology – or if you do, explain why. You won't be penalised for taking a year off to, say, travel.

It can also be worth explaining why you are looking to move from your current employer, or why you are looking for a new role.

It's not necessary to include references in an application, but let them know you can provide them on request.

C.V. advice

  • Don’t forget basics such as age, address, date of birth, notice period, clean driving licence, nationality or work visa details

  • Clearly describe your relevant qualifications

  • List the previous companies you have worked for and a brief synopsis of the duties carried out

  • Provide a list of core skills that are relevant to the employer to which you are applying, such as computer experience

  • List relevant information concisely using bullet points

  • Include a brief flavour of interests and hobbies

Curriculum vitae: John Smith

12 Park Crescent London SW12 8TS
Telephone: 020 8653 2299
Mobile: 07978 965765

Date of birth: 10/11/76
Availability: One month’s notice
Clean driving licence: Yes
Nationality: British

1995-1997 - Richmond Upon Thames College - GNVQ advanced, construction and the built environment
1997-2001 - Leeds Metropolitan University - BSc (hons) in quantity surveying, 2.1

Professional experience
June 2001-present - WS Atkins, Hampshire
Quantity surveyor on a £50m office development in the UK. My role is to work closely with the project quantity surveyor to cover all aspects of surveying from a site-based level.

July 1999-August 2000 - Wates, Birmingham
Sandwich placement year based on academic achievement. My position was assistant quantity surveyor.

Duties experienced

  • Preparing subcontractor payments
  • Organising importing of foreign materials
  • Preparing reconciliation reports
  • Reviewing and costing client change orders
  • Preparing subcontractor warranties
  • Valuing materials off site
  • Preparing tender reports for client
  • Preparing spreadsheets
  • Researching and building up of unit rates
  • Database research
  • Participating in design team meetings
  • Participating in site meetings
  • Preparing interim valuations
  • Reviewing tenders received
  • Preparing contract documents
  • Attending value engineering meetings


  • Ability to work accurately to time constraints
  • Ability to work effectively both individually or in a team
  • Strong communication and presentation skills
  • Clear and concise report writing
  • Responsible decision making
  • Logical reasoning
  • Computer skills including Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Power Point, computer-aided measurement software and project management software such as CA Superproject

I’m an avid supporter of rugby union, a keen footballer and founder member of Clapham FC